U.S. corn and soybean conditions continued to improve last week as much of the Midwest production belt experienced mild temperatures and a favorable mix of rain and sunshine. USDA rated U.S. corn crop conditions 67% good/excellent as of Sunday, up 2 percentage points from a week earlier and up from 48% a year ago, when crop conditions were rapidly deteriorating under the stress of a building drought. U.S. soybean conditions were also rated 67% good/excellent, up from 65% previously and a year-earlier rating of just 45% good/excellent.
Crop development for both corn and soybeans remains behind normal, with USDA reporting that just 3% of the U.S. corn crop was silking versus a five-year average of 9%, while only 91% of the soybean crop had emerged against an average of 94%. According to USDA, 96% of intended soybean acres had been planted by the end of June, leaving about 3.1 million intended acres still unplanted.
Crops continue to struggle with wet conditions in the top corn and growing state of Iowa as well as in neighboring Minnesota, although conditions did show improvement in Iowa.
Iowa corn conditions were rated 57% good/excellent as of Sunday, up from 54% a week earlier, while the state’s soybean crop was rated 56% good/excellent, up from 53% previously. Minnesota corn conditions deteriorated slightly last week with 58% of the crop rated good/excellent, down 1 point from a week earlier, but the state’s soybean crop improved to 59% good/excellent from 58%.
Conditions continue to improve in the traditional No. 2 corn and soybean state of Illinois with the good/excellent rating for corn there up 2 points to 69% and the portion of the soybean crop rated good/excellent up 3 points to 72%. However, only 1% of the Illinois corn crop was silking as of Sunday, behind the five-year average of 16%.
Monday’s National Weather Service 6- to 10-day outlook called for below-normal temperatures in the heart of the western Corn Belt through July 11 and normal/above-normal rains. The 8- to 14-day forecast for July 9-July 15 is also cool for western and central parts of the Corn Belt with above-normal rains from eastern Iowa eastward across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
This outlook should keep concerns that the corn crop will be stressed by summer heat or lack of moisture minimal as fields slowly move toward pollination, which should be concentrated in the second half of July this year. However, the cool outlook is likely to maintain concerns about crops in Iowa and Minnesota.